(Re)Living the Manchu Conquest: Text, Community, and Identity in Seventeenth-Century China


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


School of International Letters and Cultures


This project focuses on remembrance of the Manchu conquest of China in memoirs and popular literary forms that reenact the traumatic events. While memoirs reflect regional differences in attitudes, fiction and drama managed to move beyond the regional borders to create a “national” narrative. And the 17th-century printing boom inspired these writers to engage the book page as a public space in which literati communities were able to transport self-identities across the traumatic divide by drawing upon a collectively remembered past. Most distinctive in the Chinese experience of trauma, as this research shows, is the degree to which remembrance is formed textually and transmitted as an instrument to construct new social communities and confirm self-identity during and after the conquest.